After 20+ years of trying lots of different types of exercises/workouts, I finally found my passion: Cycling. But then after three solid years of road biking, my back went out–my diagnosis was a herniated disk. I discovered that this is quite common for cyclists (especially weekend warriors, like me) due to positioning and weak core muscles.
I was in constant pain but determined not to become dependent on pain killers. I tried a few different types of workouts and then 13 months ago, I began training with Donovan. Number one goal? No more back pain. Donovan asked all the right questions but didn’t give me any easy answers. He was quite clear that this would take plenty of patience and hard work.
Donovan and I have worked together consistently and rigorously. If I’ve had a bad day or am tired and cranky, he pushes me to just get through the workout and move on. If he knows I’ve had a really bad day, he pulls out the boxing gloves! SO FUN! I figured that I have worked out with Donovan approximately 150 times, and each workout has been different. He knows that you can’t ‘surprise the muscles’, but if the ‘user’ is bored, she will quit. We have a lot of fun during the workouts. He is no-nonsense, but wicked funny.
After 7 months, I was nearly pain-free. Every once in a while, I had a setback but healed much more quickly than before. Now, after 13 months, I am completely pain-free. I am still not cycling again, but that is my goal for 2015 and with Donovan’s help, I know I will reach it.
One more thing: The Athlete Factory is not pretty. The location is terribly inconvenient (for me, anyway). It’s smelly and loud and sometimes the music is raunchy. I love that.
Everyone there is doing their own thing and they aren’t concerned about anyone else. All the athletes are extremely respectful of each other. If you walk in the first time and feel intimidated, I encourage you to get past it and give it a chance. Eventually you will just feel inspired.
All of my life I have been very active and took too much for granted. I did a lot of heavy labor in my youth. I continued to do this type of heavy lifting on the job with my husband while beginning our carriers at our company, Franke Construction. Home and yard was a continual task, I’m sure many can relate. I exercised when I could in my 20’s and 30’s but when my children got into high school I had the time to begin doing more committed workouts and was always encouraged by my family to do so.
Up until about two years ago, I was doing great. I was proud of the fact that I was doing more than most of the women my age and exercising on a regular basis. Unfortunately, doing too much the wrong way and the years of heavy lifting caused me to have serious lower back pain. I thought if I quit working out that I could get past this pain. NOT working out was the worst thing I could have done.
After seeing a pain specialist and being referred to Accelerated Rehab Center for improvement of pain level, I was then referred to Donovan Muldrow at Athlete Factory to get back on track with a specialized workout for me. He has done an amazing job of knowing my problem areas and training me to strengthen those areas so that I can now do a workout and have recovery in a much quicker period of time. The pain is now considerably less. The results with Donovan have been amazing. He is well trained, encouraging, consistent in his efforts to improve each situation and listens to what my needs are. I like the fact that I am at a true gym. I am now 60 years old and Donovan pushes me to be a better me every training session.
Belinda Franke, Bloomington IL
I broke my ankle playing roller derby last winter. Three months and 20 pounds later, I’d lost a lot of conditioning and most of my motivation for workouts. I started training with Donovan because I knew I needed to rebuild a solid foundation, and I also knew I needed a leader. I appreciated his focus on the fundamentals of lifting and the no-frills atmosphere of the gym, as well as his attention to motivation and attitude.
Within a few months of training with Donovan, I’d regained all ankle function and strength, renewed motivation to keep getting stronger, and am now back to trading squat and deadlift pics with my teammates. – Stephanie Davidson
Before I began training with Donovan, I had been exercising and doing group training for the last 18 months at another gym, as well as seeing a chiropractor for about the same length of time. I decided to give Donovan a try because in that year and a half, I seen no changes, no success, no goals of any kind achieved. At the heart of everything, I wanted to feel better and I wasn’t going to stop exercising. Within two weeks of training with Donovan, the shoulder and neck pain I had been carrying for the last five years dissipated. Within a month to a month and a half, my clothes were fitting more loosely, yet according to my doctor’s visit I had gained six pounds! I’ve been training with Donovan now for two months and I look forward to the trainings because he’s fun, but more importantly I FEEL GREAT!
–Marisa B., Downtown Events Manager